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County shelter at home order extended

Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez extended the county’s Shelter at Home order Wednesday.

The new order went into effect Thursday at 12:01 a.m. and remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.

“In these past two weeks, our residents have adhered to the shelter at home order which has helped our community slow the spread of COVID-19,” Judge Cortez said in a news release. “We are asking the public to continue practicing the recommendations of our medical experts by continuing to shelter at home, wear a mask and practice good hygiene.”

Judge Cortez will host a news conference on Facebook Live Thursday at 3 p.m. to discuss the extended emergency orders. The new orders include additional safety measures for those 65 and older, commercial covered entities, and establishments such as bars, flea markets, and farmers markets.

The order includes the following directives:

     1. All individuals currently living within Hidalgo County, Texas are ORDERED to SHELTER-AT-HOME in their residence. It is highly encouraged and recommended that all commercial businesses operating within Hidalgo County, except essential covered businesses should cease all activities at facilities that may not be provided by curbside, drive-through, or take-out services.

     2. ALL persons over the age of 65, are strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible and maintain appropriate physical distance from any member of the household who has been out of the residence in the last 14 days.

     3. There will be a curfew for all persons aged eighteen (18) and over from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The only exceptions are for a medical emergency, to provide covered essential services, or any other purpose permitted under this Order. All persons seventeen (17) and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian when participating in essential activities.

     4. To the greatest extent possible, all travel during the SHELTER-AT-HOME and CURFEW within the jurisdiction of Hidalgo to County should be limited to obtaining or performing essential covered services. Travel should be limited to no more than two (2) persons per vehicle for persons obtaining essential services, and four (4) persons per vehicle.

     5. Every person in the County of Hidalgo shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space; wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet (6) of physical distancing from another person not in the same household.

     6. Any outdoor gathering of ten (10) or more people is prohibited unless the Mayor of the City in which the gathering is held, or the Hidalgo County Judge in the case of a gathering in an unincorporated area, approves of the gathering. Outdoor areas or outdoor venues shall operate at no more than fifty percent (50%) as underlined in the order.

     7. All commercial covered entities operating within Hidalgo County shall remain at fifty percent (50%) of the total listed occupancy limit. It is highly encouraged and recommended that services be provided by curbside, drive-thru, or take-out.

     8. All bars and similar establishments that receive more than fifty-one percent (51%) of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages MUST remain closed, but may open for delivery and take-out, including alcoholic beverages.

     9. Commercial covered entities, including flea markets and farmers markets, must develop and implement “Health and Safety Practices” that require employees and customers to follow additional hygiene measures, including wearing facial coverings over mouth and nose.

In accordance with Governor Abbott’s executive order, a person violating the facial covering mandate for a second time will face a fine not to exceed $250. Each subsequent shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per violation.

“It is up to us to help protect our most vulnerable populations such as those 65 and older,” said Judge Cortez. “I strongly encourage our senior population to stay home.”

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